Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he wont concede the governors race after the final count showed him behind by about 5,100 votes in the Nov. 5 election and called for a recanvass.
Bevin rejected calls to concede to Democratic challenger Andy Beshear, who has declared victory.
“Would it be a Bevin race if it wasnt a squeaker?” Bevin, who barely won the 2015 Republican primary, told a crowd late Tuesday. “This is a close, close race. We are not conceding this race by any stretch.”
Bevin said there were some irregularities in the election and said the law dictates a specific process in close races.
Beshear, son of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, told reporters early Wednesday: “Were confident in the outcome of the election. Today is about moving forward. The election is over.”
Bevin on Wednesday called for a recanvass, or county clerks checking to make sure the vote totals match up.
“The people of Kentucky deserve a fair and honest election. With reports of irregularities, we are exercising the right to ensure that every lawful vote was counted,” Davis Paine, Bevins campaign manager, said in a statement.
The fact that the election came in so close makes the refusal to concede unsurprisingly, Josh Douglas, an elections law professor at the University of Kentucky, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“I think the count is close enough that his team is going to look into if theres anything they can use to contest the election,” Douglas said. “The fact that he refused to concede tonight wasnt surprising given the small lead Beshear had.”
Recanvasses often shift very few votes, Douglas said.
The State Board of Elections has until Nov. 25 to certify the election results. State law allows Bevin to file an election contest with the Kentucky General Assembly. If he contests the election, lawmakers would form a committee to take depositions and order a recount, ultimately making a recommendation to the legislature, which would decide the outcome, according to the paper.
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers also said shortly after Bevins speech that the legislature could end up deciding the race.